I have found that I am a much more versatile learner than I thought I was but I can get caught up in biases that could get in the way of learning if I do not stay present of my mindset. Much as I hate to admit it, one of my greatest obstacles with starting an online degree program was my resistance to try something quite foreign to me.
My frame of reference regarding social media was that it was just an expensive milieu used for banal chatter and sharing pictures of one’s dinner. I did not see the value of it as a powerful tool for learning. I also could not visualize how people in so many geographical places could come together effectively to have critical and meaningful discussions. However, I have come to know that not only is technology very useful but it can be adapted for learners of any learning style.
What I have learned about the various learning theories and learning styles that further explain my personal learning preferences
I discovered that learning styles overlap. They are not points on a continuum but dynamic, interactive and cohesive tools in helping a single learner acquire new skills or multiple learners acquire a single new skill. Furthermore, while some of the experts disagree about the validity of some of the learning styles, they actually complement one another. As an instructor with a preferred learning style, I can still be effective in other areas. And, as a learner I can be successful by accessing additional resources to help me acquire new knowledge in ways that better fit my style.
One thing I learned during this experience is that I am a different learner than I was when I was working on my undergraduate degree 15 years ago. Because I am now a working professional, I enjoy a greater level of solitude in the learning process than I did when I was younger. I carry a very busy caseload of clients and I enjoy the time to sit, read and focus on my classes.
The role technology plays in my learning
At the beginning of this class I wondered how effective online learning could really be. I knew it required a great deal of motivation and self-discipline but I had no concerns about myself on that front. I was not convinced of the quality of education without class time with other students and face-to-face interactions with instructors. However, I have learned so much from this experience and through my other online course. I have become a believer…and even a fan. I have developed an appreciation for being able to work on accessing research and presenting my thoughts in a more concise and meaningful manner.
I am much more comfortable with public forums and, while do not expect I will ever be an avid blogger, I am grateful that I gave it a try. I am also attracted to the infinite creative possibilities of technology as an instructor as well as a learner. I use creativity as my primary outlet andnow a whole new world has been opened up to me.